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In Journal of environmental management

The accurate estimation of coastal water quality parameters (WQPs) is crucial for decision-makers to manage water resources. Although various machine learning (ML) models have been developed for coastal water quality estimation using remote sensing data, the performance of these models has significant uncertainties when applied to regional scales. To address this issue, an ensemble ML-based model was developed in this study. The ensemble ML model was applied to estimate chlorophyll-a (Chla), turbidity, and dissolved oxygen (DO) based on Sentinel-2 satellite images in Shenzhen Bay, China. The optimal input features for each WQP were selected from eight spectral bands and seven spectral indices. A local explanation strategy termed Shapley Additive Explanations (SHAP) was employed to quantify contributions of each feature to model outputs. In addition, the impacts of three climate factors on the variation of each WQP were analyzed. The results suggested that the ensemble ML models have satisfied performance for Chla (errors = 1.7%), turbidity (errors = 1.5%) and DO estimation (errors = 0.02%). Band 3 (B3) has the highest positive contribution to Chla estimation, while Band Ration Index2 (BR2) has the highest negative contribution to turbidity estimation, and Band 7 (B7) has the highest positive contribution to DO estimation. The spatial patterns of the three WQPs revealed that the water quality deterioration in Shenzhen Bay was mainly influenced by input of terrestrial pollutants from the estuary. Correlation analysis demonstrated that air temperature (Temp) and average air pressure (AAP) exhibited the closest relationship with Chla. DO showed the strongest negative correlation with Temp, while turbidity was not sensitive to Temp, average wind speed (AWS), and AAP. Overall, the ensemble ML model proposed in this study provides an accurate and practical method for long-term Chla, turbidity, and DO estimation in coastal waters.

Zhu Xiaotong, Guo Hongwei, Huang Jinhui Jeanne, Tian Shang, Xu Wang, Mai Youquan


Coastal area, Ensemble model, Machine learning, Remote sensing, Water quality